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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins



 

Studio Locations

The Big PG-eography
Bradbury Heights WM&A Bus Passenger Terminal Jan. 1948 - 1950
Coral Hills WM&A Bus Repair Facility 1950 - 1965
Oakland WBUZ-FM Transmitter Site 1950 - 1981
Morningside Original WPGC-AM Tower Site Apr. 1954 - 1956
Hyattsville 5201 Baltimore Avenue Late 1954 - 1956
Bladensburg The Parkway Building Jun. 1965 - Oct. 1980
Greenbelt 6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 800 Oct. 1980 - Summer 2000
District Heights Transmitter site since Dec. 1981 - present

 

(Click on thumbnail images below to enlarge).

 

 

1947 - 1950

1510 Southern Avenue, Bradbury Heights, MD

 


WBUZ-FM was originally located above the Washington, Marlboro & Annapolis (WM&A) bus passenger terminal at 1510 Southern Ave. on the border of SE, DC & Bradbury Heights, MD.

 

 

1950 - 1954

4421 Southern Avenue, Coral Hills, MD

 

 

WBUZ-FM subsequently moved a few miles away to the WM&A bus repair facility at 4421 Southern Ave on the border of SE, DC & Coral Hills, MD. In 1954, it moved again to a new transmitter site at 6369 Walker Mill Road in Oakland, MD.

 

 

April, 1954 - 1956

Dottie Kelly Ct., Morningside, MD

 

 

Using data collected from the FCC's Official Records at the National Archives in College Park, the exact latitudinal (38° 50' 29") and longitudinal (76° 53' 31") coordinates of the original WPGC-AM transmitter and tower site from 1954-56 has been located with the use of GPS technology. The lo-resolution photo above on the right was taken with a cell phone at dusk in the rain.

The exact spot is on the Morningside / District Heights border on Dottie Kelly Court off Anton Dr., off Walters Lane. Respecting the privacy of the residents, the actual street address is not given here. With the aid of a U.S. Geological Survey map from 1950, the paved and dirt roads leading to the site still exist (though all are now paved), directly in the heart of a residential development that sits on the farm once owned by Duval B. Evans, whom WPGC founder, Harry Hayman leased the land for the station.

Approximately 150 feet diagonally behind the house are rusty metal spikes in the ground that were used to support the original 150 foot tower's guy wires.

The site was abandoned in 1956. In order to raise power on the AM, a directional pattern necessitated erecting multiple towers. Ground conductivity beneath the site was poor due to sedimentation consisting primarily of rock. Whatsmore, access to the site (where the studio was also located) was particularly difficult in winter months on a muddy road.

WPGC-AM was granted permission by the FCC to build its new three tower array on the property where WBUZ-FM's tower was located at 6369 Walker Mill Road while the AM studios moved to the space previously occupied by WRNC-FM (formerly, WBUZ-FM) above the Washington, Marlboro & Annapolis (WM&A) bus repair facility at 4421 Southern Ave. in Coral Hills, directly across the street from the District.

 

 

1956 - June, 1965

4421 Southern Avenue, Coral Hills, MD


In 1956, WPGC-AM moved to the WM&A bus repair facility at 4421 Southern Ave.
in Coral Hills (outside the city limits of Morningside but were allowed to continue to identify themselves as being in Morningside) and inherited the studios previously occupied by WRNC-FM (formerly, WBUZ-FM) which by then had relocated to the transmitter site at 6369 Walker Mill Road in Oakland, MD
.

Here's a couple of vintage shots from within the WPGC studios in Coral Hills.

Harv Moore

Marv Brooks

 

 

June, 1965 - October, 1980

Parkway Building
5801 Annapolis Road,
Bladensburg, MD
(301) 779 - 2100


On June 28th, 1965, the stations were granted a modification of their licenses to move studios to Bladensburg, MD. New offices & studios were located in the Parkway Building adjacent to the Baltimore Washington Parkway, 5801 Annapolis Road, Landover Heights, MD (adjacent to Bladensburg), occupying the third floor of a multi story office building which opened in 1965.
It was once an attractive office complex, highly typical of commercial architecture associated with the era.

 

 

Good Guy DJ Todd Reynolds / Ed Kowalski / Ed McNeil writes:

Over the years, the town of Cheverly expanded its boundaries, and included the territory once occupied by the Parkway Building. A "For Sale" banner over the building told interested parties to contact the Town of Cheverly should they wish to buy. The town had owned the property, including the building to the rear, for several years. Since the prospects of a buyer became virtually nil, the town decided to raze both buildings and turn the land into a community park.

Good Guy DJ Alexander Goodfellow writes:

I drove by 5801 Annapolis Road during Memorial Day weekend 2004 when I was home in Cheverly visiting my Ma. It's not there, it's been razed!

 

Thanks to Skip McCloskey of the WRC tribute site (who as a teenager won too many contests to mention from WPGC and picked up his prizes in the Parkway Building) for the demolition photos above.

Below are various shots taken in the Bladensburg studios.

Cousin Duffy

Harv Moore

Jim Madison
(Joel Denver)

Columbus

Bob Raleigh
(Bill Miller)


Bob Wooten, Bob Raleigh (Bill Miller) & ? in February '72

Dino Del Gallo

Jim Elliott

Don O'Day

Jim Elliott

Waylon Richards

Dave Foxx

Jim Elliott

Jim Elliott

Dana Stephens

 

 

October 1980 - Summer 2000

6301 Ivy Road, Suite #800, Greenbelt, MD
(301) 441 - 3500

 

6301

Ivy

Lane


In October, 1980 after nearly 15 years in the Parkway Building, the station moved several miles away to state of the art studios high atop the Capital Beltway near the Kenilworth Avenue exit in Greenbelt. WPGC was the first tenant on the top (8th) floor in the first of an eventual three identical office buildings, all of which are still in use today.

See the media invitation to new studios - September, 1980.

Hear Elliott & Woodside talk about the new studios.

 

Here are some shots from the Newsroom / Production studio

J.

Robert

Howe

And one from the control room. The two studios faced each other.

Lisa Kay

 

 

Transmitter Locations

1510 Southern Avenue, Bradbury Heights, MD

 

WBUZ-FM's original transmitter was located on the property adjacent to the Washington, Marlboro & Annapolis (WM&A) bus line at 1510 Southern Ave. in Bradbury Heights. On October 13th, 1951, a tower guy wire was cut in an act of vandalism during a work dispute with transit workers. The station returned to the air with a free standing tower a few miles away at 6369 Walker Mill Road in the new development of Oakland, Maryland.

6369 Walker Mill Road, Oakland, MD

 

On June 18th, 1981 authorization from the FCC was granted to change the transmitting location of WPGC - AM & FM from 6369 Walker Mill Road to 5526 Walker Mill Road. The change of sites occured on December 21st, 1981.

5526 Walker Mill Road, District Heights, MD
(301) 736 - 7730

The transmitter site is located not far from the Coral Hills studios. The antenna can be seen from Pennsylvania Ave., approaching the Beltway near the DC / PG line.

Marty Sacks writes:

The WPGC transmitter was manned all the way into the '80s. I believe it was the last DC radio station to have transmitter engineers doing regular shifts. You had to have a First Class Radio-Telephone license (so called "First Ticket") to work at that site. It was a huge goal for me in High School to work at one of the TV networks during my summer after high school.

Fortunately for me, I got passed over to be ready for the call from Smitty who hired me to do some fill in. I remember that I ultimately worked four shifts a week - the ones left over when everybody had worked their 40 hours. My job at the end of my shift Sunday night was to bring the time sheets to Bladensburg so they'd be ready for Chris Fisher to do payroll on Monday. She was a really nice lady.

 

Inside the Transmitter Building

(Special thanks to Jeff Loughridge for the transmitter shots above).

 

Transmitter Building & Towers

Click on thumbnails images below to see enlargements. All shots are from the present day transmitter facility at 5526 Walker Mill Road in District Heights.

 

 

 

The late, Jeff Loughridge, Chief Engineer at WPGC 2000 - 2012 wrote:

The tall tower above is the FM, but the two shorter towers were the array for the AM when it was 10 kW. We replaced the rear tower in 1996 to allow more rental space, but it is still viable as an AM tower. I plan on re-licensing the site as a backup, and will recommission that tower for the array. The front short tower was also part of the WPGC AM array, but is now used for WYCB. I could put WPGC on it in a heartbeat in an emergency, if necessary.

On the transmitters themselves:

Jeff Loughridge: Believe it or not, the original CCA parallel transmitters, from 1969 (mono) and 1972 (stereo) respectively, were running 24/7 until they were retired in 2004 with another parallel system.

Tom McGinley, Chief Engineer of WPGC 1984 - 2000 adds:

Those transmitters are now legends. Smitty was going to replace them in 1983 just before he left. 20 years later they were still kickin' hard!

On the audio chain:

Jeff Loughridge: I think Smitty's air chain included a Burwen noise eliminator, Two Dorrough DAP-610's, and a few other boxes I can't remember. Nothing was stock, and everything was modified by Smitty or Joe Nunemaker, I think. The EMT plate reverb was traded to WAVA for a triple deck cart machine about 1984 or 85.

Tom McGinley: In its last incantation, Smitty's chain consisted of an AGC box at the studio hitting the Moseley STL's, then at the transmitter, a Burwen noise reducer, a Gehron stereo enhancer, the plate reverb, then twin Durrough DAP 610 multiband compressors feeding an Optimod 8100 and finally an MSI composite clipper.

The idea was to build up density and a "wall of sound" with the multiband compression, and added "punch" by tweaking the equalization. Loudness was augmented by the clipper. The stereo enhancer produced a wider "surround sound" stereo image and the noise reducer skimmed off backgroud cart tape hiss and noise. Every box had a defined "raison d'etre" or purpose.

 

 

Mailing Addresses

Box 8550
Washington 20018

 

After the station moved to Greenbelt, the drive in to DC to pick up the mail became a chore, especially since the neighborhood had deteriorated so much. The address was changed to:

 

Box 10239
Washington 20027

 

 

Phone Lines

(301) ADams 2 - 1738

The switchboard number while in Coral Hills.

 

(301) LUdlow 1 - 1580

The WPGC Top Ten call-in line while in Coral Hills.

 

(301) JOrdan 8-6677

The request line number while in Coral Hills.

 

(301) UNion 4-6600

The Dial-A-Good-Guy numberfrom 1965 onward, a Hyattsville number.

 

(301) 779-1580

The request / contest line in the Maryland exchange SPruce 9 that served Bladensburg where WPGC's studios were located.

 

(202) 432-1580

In 1973, all local stations switched over to the special, high volume 432 exchange designed to handle mass calling associated with contests, etc.

 

(202) 432-9742

A special line installed in 1982 for the 'Cash & Gold Sweepstakes' contest.

 

836-0211

A fictious number used in 1982 with the 'E.T. Phone Home' promotion.

(202) 432-9595

In 1983 with the AM barely making the ratings book, the request line was changed to reflect the FM frequency.

 

 

Miscellaneous Audio

2/29/04 Ed Walker on: Morningside studio and Duval B. Evans - :50
2/29/04 Ed Walker on: Moving to Coral Hills Facility & WBUZ-FM - 1:07
2/29/04 Ed Walker on: Remote broadcast facilities - 1:05

 




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